Lodi police officers and San Joaquin County Sheriff's deputies began enforcing the countywide and statewide stay-at-home orders over the weekend, though the focus was on education rather than citations.

Under the new orders, intended to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in California, non-essential businesses have been ordered to close and residents have been asked to stay inside unless they are on essential business such as picking up food or medical supplies, caring for a family member, or doing an essential job.

Residents may also care for pets or exercise outdoors, but are asked to practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from other people.

So far, law enforcement officers have not been citing anyone, instead focusing on sharing information about the stay-at-home orders.

"We are in the process of trying to contact and educate as many businesses as we can," Sgt. Tim Fritz said Sunday.

Some non-essential businesses have been reluctant to close, he said, because it can hurt their bottom line. However, the state and county orders must be enforced, he said.

The department has also received a couple of calls for groups of citizens congregating, he said. Lodi police are asking that the public follow all guidelines and instructions.

"We know it's obviously an inconvenience," Fritz said.

At the moment, San Joaquin County is hoping educating the public is all that is needed, Detective Andrea Lopez of the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office said. However, the county could begin enforcing the orders with fines or jail time in the future, she said. 

As of 5 p.m. Sunday, the county had 41 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and two county residents had died from the illness.

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